Haumea is a dwarf planet discovered by a team from Caltech at the Palomar Observatory in 2004. The team leader was Mike Brown.
The discovery has been a topic of controversy, because another team at the Sierra Nevada Observatory in Spain, led by J.L. Ortiz also said that they had discovered Haumea in 2005. Most sources continue to list both of the discovery groups.
|Discovered By:||Mike Brown & team or José Luis Ortiz Moreno & team|
|Discovery Date:||28th December 2004|
|Equatorial Diameter:||1,960 km to 1,518 km|
|Polar Diameter:||996 km|
|Mass:||4.01 × 10^21 kg (0.05 Moons)|
|Orbit Distance:||6,452,000,000 km (43.13 AU)|
|Orbit Period:||283.3 years|
Haumea and its moons are some of the few celestial bodies not named for mythological Greek or Roman characters. Haumea has a distinct elongate shape, making it the least spherical of any of the known dwarf planets.
It has a 385 mi/620 km radius, which is around 1/14 of Earth’s radius. It is so far away from the sun that it takes 6 hours for sunlight to travel to Haumea.
Haumea completes a rotation every 4 hours, which makes it one of the fastest rotating larger objects within our solar system.
It takes 285 Earth years for Haumea to complete an orbit around the sun.Haumea is in the Kuiper Belt outside of Neptune’s orbit.
This area is home to thousands of small icy bodies that are believed to have formed early in our solar system’s development.
The icy bodies in the Kuiper Belts are referred to as plutoids or TNOs (transneptunian objects).
We know very little about Haumea, including the surface content. It’s thought that Haumea is made up of rock and is coated with ice.
It is unknown whether Haumea has any atmosphere and given the extreme cold temperature, scientists don’t think any life could exist on the dwarf planet.
Because of this, Haumea has been given less attention than other celestial bodies.Haumea was named after the Hawaiian goddess of childbirth.
Haumea has two moons: the inner moon is named Namaka, a Hawaiian water spirit; and the outer moon is named Hi’iaka, the patron goddess of the island of Hawaii and of all hula dancers.
Each of the moons are named for the mythological daughters of Huamea. In 2017, scientists announced the discovery of rings around Haumea.
It is the first known object in the Kuiper Belt to have rings.
There haven’t been any space missions to Haumea, so all of the information that we have gathered about the dwarf planet is due to observations from our Earth-based telescopes.
Haumea’s moons are thought to have been created after a major collision hit to Haumea.
The pieces gathered together, formed the moons, and began to orbit around Haumea.
An additional mission called New Horizons 2 was suggested with a focus to include flybys to many of the trans-neptunian objects, including Haumea.
The recommendation was never approved due to a number of problems and issues, but mainly due to a shortage of plutonium-238 needed for the radioisotope thermoelectric generator.